Former Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, who defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last week from the All Progressives Congress (APC), yesterday hinged his action on the need to deepen and save democracy in Nigeria. On his part, Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, who was among PDP officials that worked out of the party’s convention in Abuja last year, explained why he did not follow his other comrades to APC. Bafarawa, who led a delegation of his supporters to the national secretariat of PDP in Abuja, said APC was operating outside its constitution, hence he had to defect to the PDP to save democracy. He said: “APC is yet to give a membership card to anybody, six months after its registration as a political party. Along the line in the past six months, APC started operating outside the constitution of the party. Our complaints against PDP are repeating itself in the APC. “There is no difference between the PDP and APC because there is no respect for the constitution; but with the emergence of Adamu Mu’azu as the national chairman (of PDP), there is a glimmer of hope. PDP is lacking good leadership, but with Mu’azu as chairman, we are encouraged with the turn of events in the PDP. You see it is better to come inside and make your contributions. I have to come in and make my contributions from within.” Speaking further on Mu’azu’s leadership of PDP, the former governor said: “We are here to show our support to your leadership. We are not looking for appointments. I have been in opposition since 1976 when I was elected a councillor. We are not joining the PDP because of any material gain. I joined PDP so as to build democracy and because of Mu’azu. “Mu’azu is a leader, who listens to advise and we exchange ideas while in office.” Bafarawa accused some politicians of introducing ethno-religious sentiment into politics and urged the party chair to beware of such people. He also advised Mu’azu to abide by the PDP constitution, saying: “Obey the constitution and always bear in mind that the party is supreme.” He called on stakeholders of the party to convene a national convention as soon as possible to confirm Mu’azu as the national chairman. Bafarawa assured the party chair that he would not engage in any power tussle with Sokoto State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mukhtari Shagari, who is currently the leader of the party in the state. “We don’t have any grudge against Shagari. I am coming to PDP without senators, but with the people. I am in the PDP on behalf of the PDP,” he said. On whether he supports the presidency being from the south-south, the former governor said: “Nigeria belongs to everybody. When we talk about region, we are killing democracy. Let’s allow people to choose their candidate. Let apply internal democracy.” He called on PDP to issue him and his supporters with membership cards to enable them became full members of the ruling party. In his response, Mu’azu directed the National Organising Secretary of PDP, Mustapha Abubakar, to ensure that Bafarawa and his group are issued PDP membership cards. Mu’azu said: “After so many years, Bafarawa and I are now in PDP. PDP is very accommodating. Bafarawa is a core grassroots politician.” He said the unity of Nigeria could not be compromised and charged Bafarawa and his supporters to embark on a massive membership drive in Sokoto State for PDP. Like Bafarawa, Aliyu, who was also at the PDP national secretariat to visit Mu’azu, defended his stay in the party, despite the fact that some of his aggrieved comrades have defected to APC. The governor, who led other stakeholders from the state to pay homage to Mu’azu, said though he led the protest against the party, he had no intention of leaving it. According to him, “I led a protest, which came to be known as G7. It was not intended to kill the party and move away. Many people asked me, you led the group how come you did not move? I didn’t move because my conscience, understanding and my position is with the PDP. And I believe that in 2015, PDP will form the government.”
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The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Suleiman Abba, has reiterated that the police will take all lawful measures to ensure the safety and security of Nigerians at all times.
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